The flag of Belize is a continued version of the earlier flag of British Honduras (the name of Belize during the British colonial period).
British Honduras obtained a coat of arms on January 28, 1907, which formed the basis of the “badge” used on British ensigns. The coat of arms recalls the logging industry that first led to British settlement there. The figures, tools, and mahogany tree represent this industry.
From 1950 onward an unofficial national flag was in use. It was blue, with a modified version of the arms on a white disc in the centre (sometimes a blank white circle was used as the coat of arms was difficult to draw).
The national motto, Sub Umbra Floreo, meaning “I Flourish in the Shade”, is written in the lower part of the coat of arms.
Happy 33rd Independence to all Belizeans at home and abroad.
British badge pre-independence
The Belize Flag was first raised when we got our independence back in September 21, 1981.
For those who are not that acquainted with the Belize Flag, it consists of the Coat of Arms of Belize in the centre of a blue rectangle with red striped on the top and bottom. To us Belizeans, this is a beautiful flag with a very patriotic meaning.
The royal blue background represents the first political party of the country, The People’s United Party established in 1950. The red strip represent the second major political party, The United Democratic Party established in 1973. This two parties have formed the Central Government of Belize since independence.
The Coat of Arms is seemingly the most important aspect of the flag. It depicts a mestizo and creole man holding tools representing the first industry of Belize, logging. The men are standing beside a Mahogany Tree (National Tree of Belize) and a party per pall inverted shield. Each section within the shield showcased tools of the logging industry including a paddle and a squaring axe (left division), a saw and beating axe (right division) and a sailing ship (bottom vessel). At the bottom of the shield is Belize’s motto ‘Sub Umbra Floreo’ – which translates from Latin to English to ‘Under the share I flourish’. The entire Coat of Arms is surrounded with a circular boarder of 5o leaves.
The Belize Flag is clearly one of the most complicated flags in the world and it is also one of only a few that have actual people represented on them.
For more on the evolution of the Belize flag, click here!
Click here for Early 1800s Merchant flags of Belize